Salt Lake City, Utah (30 August 2017), Thursday, September 7, 2017, marks the closing of an 80-year era of historic records access to usher in a new, digital model. FamilySearch is discontinuing its microfilm circulation services in concert with its commitment to make billions of the world’s historic records readily accessible digitally online. (See FamilySearch Digital Records Access Replacing Microfilm). As its remaining microfilms are digitized, FamilySearch has provided additional information to users of its historic microfilm program. Find and share this news announcement easily online in the FamilySearch Newsroom.
FamilySearch, a global leader in historic records preservation and access, began microfilming historic records in 1938. Advancements in technology have enabled it to be more efficient, making an unbelievable tide of digital images of historic records accessible much quicker online and to a far greater customer base.
FamilySearch released a list of helpful facts and tips to help patrons better navigate the transition from microfilm to digital.
Quick Facts and Tips
- Patrons can still order microfilms online until Thursday, September 7, 2017.
- After film ordering ends, if customers need access to a particular film yet to be digitized, they can express interest to have it added to the priority digitization list by contacting FamilySearch Support (Toll Free: 1-866-406-1830).
- All of the microfilm rented by patrons in the past 5 years have now been digitized by FamilySearch—over 1.5 million microfilms (ca. 1.5 billion images).
- The remaining microfilms are being digitally scanned at a rate of 1,000 films per day and are projected to be complete by 2020.
- New digital images are available as they are scanned in the FamilySearch.org Catalog.
- Films currently on loan in family history centers and affiliate libraries are automatically granted extended loan status.
- Affiliate libraries now have access to nearly all of the restricted image collections as family history centers.
- Visitors to the Family History Library in Salt Lake City will still be able to order needed microfilms to use during their research visits.
How to Find Digital Images on FamilySearch
Digital image collections can be accessed today in 3 places on FamilySearch.org, all under Search.
- Catalog. Includes a description of all the microfilms and digital images in the FamilySearch collection. This is where all of FamilySearch’s digitized microfilm and new digital images from its global camera operations are being published. A camera icon appears in the Catalog adjacent to a microfilm listing when it is available digitally.
- Records includes collections that have been indexed by name or published with additional waypoints to help browse the unindexed images.
- Books include digital copies of books from the Family History Library and other libraries, including many books that were previously copied to microfilm.
For additional help, see Finding Digital Images of Records on FamilySearch.org, or watch this how-to video “Where are the digitized records on FamilySearch?”
“FamilySearch is committed to meeting customers’ needs as much as possible during this transition to digital access,” said Diane Loosle, FamilySearch’s Director of Patron Services. “We really appreciate the wonderful feedback we have received since the initial announcement. It is helping us better facilitate customer experiences during this next phase.”
Loosle said FamilySearch’s over 5,000 family history centers will continue to provide access to relevant technology, premium subscription services, and digital records, including restricted content not available at home. Centers have the option to return microfilm that is available online or otherwise not needed. As more images are published online, centers may reevaluate whether to retain microfilm holdings.
See Frequently Asked Questions: Digital Access Replacing Microfilms for more information.
FamilySearch International is the largest genealogy organization in the world. FamilySearch is a nonprofit, volunteer-driven organization sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Millions of people use FamilySearch records, resources, and services to learn more about their family history. To help in this great pursuit, FamilySearch and its predecessors have been actively gathering, preserving, and sharing genealogical records worldwide for over 100 years. Patrons may access FamilySearch services and resources free online at FamilySearch.org or through over 5,000 family history centers in 129 countries, including the main Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.